Upper House member Kohei Otsuka, a former vice health minister, became the new leader of the opposition Democratic Party on Oct. 31, running unopposed to succeed former party President Seiji Maehara.

Maehara resigned on Oct. 30 to take responsibility for his Lower House election strategy that tore the party apart with many of its members fleeing to join newly formed rival parties.

Otsuka filed his candidacy on Oct. 31 for the party presidency, and there was no other party member coming forward to challenge him.

He was officially selected as the party leader at a meeting of party members of both Diet chambers held on the afternoon of Oct. 31.

As the new leader, he will have a difficult job establishing cooperative relationships with the Kibo no To (Hope) and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, both of which took many members of the Democratic Party under their banners for the Oct. 22 Lower House election.

Otsuka, a former official of the Bank of Japan, is elected from Aichi Prefecture. He once held a number of senior roles in the Cabinet, including serving as vice ministers of the health ministry and the Cabinet Office.

He has been elected to the Diet three times.